Noca
Evie Carpenter

Sorry, Mom; even though we love your PB and J, every once in a while we get a hankerin' for a sack-lunch with a gourmet edge. In this case one from Noca, the stylish restaurant in Central Phoenix. Every Tuesday through Saturday afternoon, the restaurant turns into the fast-casual Nocawich, serving up a menu of six stellar sandwiches (plus a special), flavorful soups, and a few sides. Tuesday's feature is a patty melt, Wednesdays mean the delectable lobster roll is up for grabs, and other days there are knock-out creations like The Cisco Kid, featuring in-house roasted turkey and cranberry jam. With your meal stuffed into a sack with a side and a sweet treat, you can take it to go or enjoy it inside while watching the restaurant's chefs prep for the evening's dinner service.

The Stockyards Restaurant and 1889 Saloon
Jacob Tyler Dunn

There are plenty of places to eat in downtown Tempe and an ever-increasing number in Phoenix. But the stretch between the two cities remains a bit of a no-man's-land. That's why we're glad to have The Stockyards. There's not an ounce of hipness in this old-school steak house, and that's just fine, because we're here to eat. The service is lovely, the booths are comfy, and the menu is straightforward, with a soup of the day and a selection of salads to suit any midday diner. Feeling hungry? Try a hunk of steak. Feeling adventurous? Try the calf fries. Just don't say we didn't warn you.

jade bar
Heather Hoch

If you're looking to impress a certain someone with exquisite city views from the north side of Camelback Mountain, cocktails, and a little bit of people watching, the sleek Jade bar is the place to be. We like to hit this swanky bar right before a big haboob so we can watch the action safely from the floor-to-ceiling windows; better yet, try it right before the sun disappears behind the distant mountains during one of Phoenix's epic pink and purple sunsets. During the cool winter months, head out to the secluded patio to sip on your one-of-a-kind signature Jade cocktails and enjoy overhead stars.

Rokerij
Diana Martinez

Sure, dragging your date down into the basement of a restaurant may not sound like a good idea on paper (at least not to her), but trust us on this one — it's going to be awesome. And if she doesn't appreciate the fact that you took her to one of the best restaurants in town, then she obviously is crazy and tasteless and should be immediately kicked to the curb. Up your chances of getting to second base by taking that special someone down to the basement of the Rokerij for cocktails and small plates of roasted garlic, bacon-wrapped shrimp, and prime rib sliders. The downstairs bar is a cozy spot to get to know someone a little better or you can always sit at the upstairs bar, if hanging out in a basement seems a little too creepy.

Roka Akor
Nicole Hoffman

Plenty of restaurants and bars offer special deals for people in "the biz," but Roka Akor easily takes the cake. Provide proof of employment in the hotel, bar, restaurant or tourism industry, and you'll receive a bona fide Roka Akor Industry Card. Present that little black ticket to deliciousness on Sunday night, and you'll get 41 percent off your entire bill. Limited exclusions apply, but with such steep discounts at one of Phoenix's finest sushi and steak establishments, we've got no complaints. They'll also buy you a drink by making your first round two-for-one. Now that's quite a way to unwind after a hot night in the kitchen.

Best Restaurant with an Invisible Dance Floor

SoChu House

SoChu House

You can always count on Johnny Chu to bring a party to the dinner table. With a long list (Lucky Dragon, Fate, Sens) of successful Asian fusion restaurants, we have come to expect this skinny, spiky-haired chef to bring some of the best sauces in town, too. His latest spot does not disappoint in either regard. The House Dynamite is still on the menu — and so's the house party. A friend muttered one of the best lines we've heard in ages when — upon realizing that party was creeping toward her dinner plate in a not entirely non-scary way, asked her server, "Am I sitting on the invisible dance floor?"

If you crave hot-and-sour soup, ginger mint duck salad, and the aforementioned House Dynamite in a lower-keyed setting, you're in luck. These new digs are spacious and airy, located smack in the heart of CenPho's business corridor. Chu's open for lunch, and he's even got a new option: a prix fixe including a small salad, entrée with rice, and even a bit of fried whipped cream for dessert. It's affordable enough to leave you some cash for cocktails later that night.
Windsor

When you dedicate an entire wall of your restaurant to your old cassette tape collection, you better make damn sure your restaurant has an outstanding playlist. Thankfully, the folks behind the music at uptown's Windsor have impeccable musical taste. The fun and upbeat restaurant cranks out alternative and indie tunes from the '80s and '90s with a few modern-day tracks thrown in for good measure. Beastie Boys, Violent Femmes, Devo, Talking Heads, Foo Fighters, and even a little Bob Marley will have you chair-dancing all the way through your meal and probably through a cocktail or two.

FnB Restaurant
Debby Wolvos

Up until a few years ago, getting late-night eats in the Valley meant hitting up a 24-hour chain restaurant (oh, boy, another Belgian Waffle Slam) or picking through the contents of our refrigerators. Thankfully, this popular Scottsdale hangout from front-of-the-house pro Pavle Milic and chef Charleen Badman showed us night owls some love — specifically, some late-night love. Between 9 and 10 p.m. every Sunday, Badman cooks up a different dish each week using premium seasonal ingredients and a passion for locally focused fare. In the past, she's prepared her amazing fried chicken, lamb chorizo chilaquiles, and hell, even a stellar shrimp and pork fried rice based on a Facebook debate. Now that sounds like some late-night love that won't leave us with any regrets.

The Stock Shop

The backyard chicken trend still is in full swing, and thanks to Glendale's Stock Shop, you'll never have a problem finding the perfect little feathered friends to fill the super-cute coop you've slaved over. The Stock Shop has been catering to the needs of chickens and their owners for more than 30 years and almost always has a large selection of newly hatched chicks. The little chicks sit happily in the back of the immaculately clean family-owned and -operated feed and tack, just waiting for you to drop by and fall in love with one or four of them. The store also carries ducks, peafowl, and the occasional pot-bellied pigs, just in case your new feathered babies need a couple of extra friends.

Getting your local veggie fix is easier than ever these days, but having your veggies handpicked and ready for pickup can come with a hefty price tag. Though most CSAs want you to pay a couple hundred dollars up front for a six-week "subscription," newcomer Chow Locally lets you pay each week. Just shell out the $20 deposit for your pretty wooden crate, and the Chow Share folks will fill it each week with seven to 10 different veggies picked fresh from local farms. Once the crate is filled, it's dropped off at the location of your choice and waits for you to pick it up and take it home. The weekly subscription price of just $22 is a steal for a bounty of local fruits and veggies.

Best Of Phoenix®

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